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Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017

Last year, Forcepoint Security Labs blogged about the Quant Loader – a Trojan downloader previously seen being used to distribute Locky and Pony. 

We recently came across an active Quant loader administration panel hosted on a freshly registered domain which was also hosting a number of additional malware samples. At first glance everything seemed to be business as usual, but once the initial investigation was completed it became evident that some additional ‘features’ had been added...

Three for the Price of One 

Quant is not new or a very novel piece of malware: we covered the basics of it last year when it was first advertised by its creator, MrRaiX, and began to emerge in the wild. However, analysis of the newly obtained samples quickly revealed some differences to the previously documented Quant-based Locky and Pony campaigns. Further, these newest samples all appeared to attempt to download the same payload files from the C2 server after their initial connection. 

Depending on the actual tasks enabled on the Quant server the following files are hosted by default and waiting to be downloaded and executed:

  • bs.dll.c – A cryptocurrency stealer 
  • sql.dll.c – A benign SQLite library upon which ‘zs.dll.c’ depends 
  • zs.dll.c – A credential stealer 

Cryptocurrency Stealing - MBS

BS.DLL.C is a small Borland Delphi based library created for extracting several less-popular cryptocurrency wallets from the victims' computer - besides the perennial number one suspect that is Bitcoin.  

It scans the user's Application Data directory for supported wallets, extracts the information found, and transfers it over to the C2 server. Judging by the actual data on the servers we examined - and presumably due to the fact that some of the more popular currencies are not supported - this functionality does not seem to be particularly fruitful.

The currently supported clients and crypto currencies are: 

  • Bitcoin (BTC) - via MultiBit and Electrum wallets 
  • Terracoin (TRC) 
  • Peercoin/PPCoin (PPC) 
  • Primecoin (XPM)

Note that the company behind the Multibit wallet has been out of business for over a year.

Credential stealing - Z*Stealer 

ZS.DLL.C is another Delphi based library, this time for stealing both OS and application login credentials. As with the cryptocurrency stealer, once the password scan is completed the extracted information is transferred to the C2 by HTTP POST request to a PHP page on the server side. 

Based on data retrieved from the C2 servers, the credential stealing capability seems to be comparatively successful at retrieving data. A range of commonly used applications are supported:

Pidgin IM Thunderbird VNC Sleipnir Browser
Qip 2005 Total Commander WinSCP Torch Browser
Qip 2010 Outlook Express Chrome Remote Desktop (RDP)
Qip Online CuteFTP Firefox Windows Dialler (RAS)
Miranda IM WsFTP Opera Wifi
ICQ SmartFTP Safari  
Psi IM FlashFXP Internet Explorer  
Mail.ru FileZilla Yandex Browser  
The Bat Outlook Express Amigo Browser  
Yandex Online Windows Live Mail Comodo Browser  

But Wait, There’s More… 

Both of these stealers were already in development (and actively sold on underground forums) by the author when Quant loader was first released. In early 2017 the decision appears to have been made to include them with Quant Loader as part of a package, either to pump up the price or justify it by providing more functionality. 

These two modules are still sold separately: MBS can be bought separately for $100 for a full license and an additional $15 for every update while Z*Stealer would be $100 for a full license with free updates, or $55 for a base license and an additional $15 for every update. This is as compared to a recent advert offering five full Quant licences for $275.

While stealing credentials and various crypto currency wallets are now enabled as the default configuration, the panel still lets users disable the distribution of these modules and/or create additional custom tasks for deploying further malware on the victim machines. 

Quantity over Quality 

Once the components above were analysed we compared the binaries from a number of different C2 servers. 

The result was a bit different from our initial expectation, at least as far as the DLL modules are concerned: while the SQLite library was always consistent - there seems to be little to no practical reason for updating that - we were expecting the MBS and Z*Stealer components to receive more frequent updates, reflecting MrRaiX's activity on the underground forums. 

Comparing the different builds of these modules, meaningful updates appear to only happen once in a long while and typically take the form of slight modifications to the code base every two to eight weeks to appeal to new buyers as something being ‘actively’ developed.  

More effort seems to go into updating the main loader executable. However, the additions being made to this are still relatively basic capabilities such as including a lengthy sleep command in an attempt to avoid sandbox environments – an old trick now bypassed by most modern sandboxes – and antivirus detection for a number of products via their registry entries:  

  • ​Kaspersky Internet Security – HKLM\SOFTWARE\KasperskyLab\LicStrg , kis 
  • Panda Firewall - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Panda Software\Setup , FirewallName 
  • Norton Security - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Applications\NS.exe , TaskbarGroupIcon 
  • Dr. Web Firewall - HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\DrWebLwf , DisplayName 
  • Bitdefender - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Bitdefender Agent\Install , InstallPath 
  • BullGuard - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\bullguard.exe , Default  

The newer builds are also utilizing a UAC bypass trick by calling ShellExecuteEx with the non- documented 'runas' flag. Under certain UAC settings this would result in the malware running with elevated privileges without bringing up the UAC prompt. This was not present in the sample examined in September 2016 but was introduced shortly after and may be the capability referred-to as 'privilege escalation' in the advertising material.

Protection Statement 

Forcepoint customers are protected against this threat at the following stages of attack: 

  • Stage 5 (Dropper File) - The Quant Loader and associated malware files are prevented from being downloaded. 
  • Stage 6 (Call Home) - Attempts by Quant Loader to contact its C2 servers are blocked. 

Conclusion 

These days you don’t have to provide a niche or technologically very capable product on the dark market, just one which fits into the unfortunately ever-expanding market. Quant Loader qualifies under these conditions and shows an example how one with average skills, a bit of desire and willingness to commit updates every few weeks can make money for years while maintaining a limited profile. 

Similarly, the packaging of Quant Loader with the stealer DLLs makes deployment easier for unskilled customers: while the software maintains the ability to drop custom payloads, the vast majority of the attacks we saw did not bother to use this capability.

Targeting cryptocurrency wallets is not a particularly new innovation, and targeting 'offline' wallets is a relatively well-established way of attempting to steal 'coins'. Interestingly, while the stated goal of the Z*Stealer module is more general password theft, this may stand a chance of better returns by stealing user credentials for online wallet providers and exchanges such as blockchain.info and Coinbase. We have previously reported a number of malware families moving to target these services - e.g. the Trickbot banking Trojan expanded its list of targets to include Coinbase in August 2017 and, even further back, Dridex expanding its target list to include a number of Bitcoin-related applications in September 2016. Indeed, the ongoing targeting of cryptocurrency wallets and services is something covered in Forcepoint's 2018 Security Predictions.

This again highlights the ongoing issue of small-scale, amateur cybercrime which has been a recent thread on this blog: all the time an effective campaign can be mounted with minimal effort, it will remain difficult to deter would-be cybercriminals from ‘having a go’.

Indicators of Compromise 

C2 Servers 

http://5.8.88.135/q/index.php 
http://5.39.222.250/wordpress/index.php 
http://45.32.94.55/q/index.php 
http://178.17.170.211/panel/index.php 
http://146.0.77.232/stealer/index.php 
http://80.209.228.111/q/index.php 
http://185.11.146.80/index.php 
http://185.70.186.146/qq/index.php 
http://185.135.80.195/d/index.php 
http://185.212.200.194/q/index.php 
http://195.161.114.185/z/index.php 
http://filmsdays.top/q/index.php 
http://drillbyte.net/q/index.php 
http://oluwahkudi.tk/q/index.php 
http://bobjacki.ru/lib/index.php 
http://festopt.ru/q/index.php 
http://data.michaelorth.eu/q/index.php 
http://rsb18.rhostbh.com/~bakixeb2/bash/q/index.php 
http://logisticsworld.myjino.ru/z/index.php 
http://dackdack.club/api2/index.php 
http://proxy.cheesecakefactoryrestos3.com/proxy/index.php 
http://msoffice365.win/stealer/index.php 
http://dandiesinoz.com/scripts/backup/index.php 
http://vitaetortorvitaesuscipit.us/5yv9rt7w0/q/index.php 
http://n31.assetsofseyshellseden.com/proxy/index.php 
http://coinbitbot.ru/x/index.php 
http://wsupdatehq.pw/manager/index.php 
http://myyu.ru/q/index.php 
http://college37672.website/track06858565670k64/index.php 
http://trackingbase.net/track06858565670k64/index.php 
http://omega-two-two.myjino.ru/q/index.php 
http://sea.cheapshoes.pw/q/index.php 
http://festopt.cf/x/index.php 
http://festopt.tk/x/index.php 
http://bomonero2.su/bo/index.php 
http://coffeecornerss.com/q/index.php 
http://21072206.su/q/index.php 
http://news.nuupdate.ws/index.php 
http://mdmapilot.se/qcp/index.php 
http://www.airpowermouse.pw/index.php 
http://xmr0910.ru/q/index.php 
http://bontt.ru/q/index.php 
http://gickfree.ru/RnaBngBiRx4f/index.php

Quant Loader (SHA256) 

01551106eb85d706af0f8665c3c44f63019640b49db7510f0750624feb007407 
02f71cb97ed8fa0ef73e45169d60351fbb92933fee2f4614dc428353fe052d42 
0254b7e9ea10034860105cb93b54872ef806644d25364b665ea1fa080bae13fb 
070b79130c9f280de92ccb1567954d977b5a58f290bc08a703656311b7d7224a 
11441441f2c1a5fbdd0b78d3489874f19dfe97ee41da14fb9523eb9ceb2bff86 
1b51e4fdf27ab6e98211c79a9eda29139feab3d7dc5141e1850116ea39f151a3 
2d4eaa628da731a524a6bb127c7a022d80afb385a646e73bb817ff12cc168e54 
35bec37c9c88edf6f300447417eb22e4e0fddec77d999ab68144630995018ad0 
3981508bfd759c5445e262945c5f1e24815b1a5b02599b1d8ff0762e45240488 
3e898dc1a4641efbc8c14e5d10e7ebd74fe4717815c5ba12cc6242346af79677 
45e919658fec7fa9225b433c86a00c8d6b7e398b9be12af827fc323f7055f3b2 
461dac8fa36a8e006334e9cbfceb70d8dd858b997b302bacb8a3b4726f8bfadf 
481a0fcf63eb82c3c4466b70258eecd322a74c1733e5fab6445ed3f1f64b824c 
495353ecdeebf9ec70f6fb75ae381fd08b6d197c43e02891b0497df47660a440 
4b6fb6a124323a6002ba22b5fefb343ea519fa21eb5c669299488a454a5dd14f 
4b9369ec3bef81ea803c2e83ed1cc33d081ad9b79b9ce8e4ee66e7fff24e62cb 
50431307050dc00901261380219319a6c2709d9b4570b536705371e1bb3c3068 
52aca3810a1fff7aa6c4cb379ff1366e051da2d70f81291b83b7b58c68d4caf3 
59a464787d697e72aa36858f7d52b0f4f77555f3bdf8f884a8f16833cc92fe44 
5cd287dad228675fda218465875145278c80268edc8132c0390ce68b1c74c261 
5e00ae95a3e35a27bf57eb3e86b2c75f05369979f6ae4efc6d426a12975052f5 
6396bbf6dbf31ecf84193d710b6fd7b9535f75b6fa598bca65a8e4d648a41213 
7fd80781aae175592f2cdad9e4c3ef24ef3966dd156f5b3fd8207bcb7e6b00d1 
8052c7c987b1887cc2d38b4050c655954fc22130396581a0c6aa11e8f178f1ac 
809d3b2180909bee2c05bddff7cb44d5706257039c3025405ef702c6d6f0f4b7 
86c5708e1bfb2b1ee3235c18898cd4570b4e6ed6ad3ec6ff5fe0cb6f8cf49996 
8b81b9cac2a9e9408f3f7d1707e45f42713c42f44ccfab15fde1b73e82745e49 
97f3e812b17d888d0d3b8ce8e8ede83f3bc2f714a57a7ee783115baf9e7e2760 
9f1f29f8bd06f5b6d231b45f37652168125529e1a89a107c990c2911938e7dde 
b058f3d29e702130d55670abba6a8fff56fb73049d8380912d262cdc8dc9e397 
b0b2f8002a37ec96d9767e4a36e62d6b0bc7eb947865a52120bb35689151f18a 
b407aebd9087ab17fe4cb8110dec6fce8a05f6579269d67d3cf72babae37f156 
b5371ae6ab4473155eeaf3c9c0ceb02bc640f5d7de5df0aa401140adcf95221a 
c2dd64b8b1cd9114530347f1185acd054d2adb50df38795a3cec11bc93a116b7 
c983d34b870240813afb96979ce0063e5d4681676422715ab8ed42c77d6dbf2b 
d02eec5861bc0a0d807c62763c80af84c881f7cb7b00897ebe405c4896cf2e8b 
dc56603abed7b5e6306cf65847df19abb78f5f5148354790fbe774e75041832b 
eebd792f3f7c178ece4727404a7b59a7c9af05009f6609c2dc245706533ecc73 
f0bda79c2fce429d5666517d914d9939f62707e574828df4859f4ee112cd9606 
f45dc416c70439aa910a5abdd64f4e682e8b937381e3354d6bc2887a9f2b29f0 
f6cd417258d168c79f9e390e0239bf192885e853ba60194044b416d89b930de9 

BS.DLL (SHA256) 

4e22a0ef5543f7b1dcd74b4d9f6157b1498c9f97adaba175e3be1e60e9059a21 
59bebe69c6273edf9f4a2d2841f8624dc295c8d3fcb668960c1ca5b954e871fe 
ac5b70f143ca948c0cc394c1f741747898418e14fba025103666cbc76664ef3c 
c9a84716b7723f7ad98841ca0b3199cf8059dc2506ca16a0e73b84cd39e797c3 
e8e32f90a8b39cbe9c7262512925ce4bf1d8d2cba4fd47995faa58d268dbda62 
ea663c8adbcc15bb43c82ead07817dd722c249242990ba0f28d1957b1f510da2 
fe71dc4d6930135e178c7b1d368b9c9d94b91da27a31451420237bee74ee42b9 

ZS.DLL (SHA256) 

af89d85a3b579ac754850bd6e52e7516c2e63141107001463486cd01bc175052 
5a2c9060f6cc1e6e0fd09b2b194631d2c7e7f024d9e2d3a9be64570e263f565f 
13ace004dad18259ca13ec16491fd008a7257081978d2118e29e584fbb3c31d3 
69722833ccd5970470d66775c35745baff4635e736973f049ebbfb87b7d89682 

About the Author

RN

Robert Neumann

Security Researcher